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Lt. Gov. visits Indian Land Senior Center

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By Reece Murphy

INDIAN LAND – South Carolina’s new Lt. Gov. Yancy McGill visited Indian Land on Wednesday morning, July 16, where he met with local seniors to discuss issues affecting them and their senior center.

McGill, a former Democratic state senator, was elected to the lieutenant governor’s office by the Senate to finish the term of former Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell. 

McConnell stepped down last month after he was named as the 22nd president of the College of Charleston.

McGill’s stop at the Indian Land Senior Center was the second of three visits to senior centers in York, Lancaster and Fairfield counties Wednesday as part of his tour of senior centers in all 46 South Carolina counties.

The visits are intended to help McGill, who heads the state Office on Aging, press for legislation and funding in the General Assembly to address issues facing the state’s seniors.

“As you know, I took this job June 18 and the position will end Jan. 13,” said McGill, who is not seeking reelection. “What I want to do is bring back to the General Assembly a testament of needs, senior resources and opportunities for seniors.

“The information they shared, we will share with the (House) Ways and Means committee and the Senate Finance Committee,” he said.

McGill said topics of discussion during his visits have ranged from the senior centers’ funding and resource needs and meal programs to senior citizens’ transportation, health care and dietary issues, among others.

Among the most important issues facing seniors, McGill said, is how to stretch their limited incomes, something he said he’d like to see addressed, in part, through increasing the state’s Homestead Exemption for seniors and a program to help them get free or reduced-priced fresh produce.

McGill said he’d also like to help seniors improve their quality of life, an issue he’d like to see addressed with a “Senior Weekend” during which they would have an opportunity to visit the state’s attractions at a reduced price.

Since the goal of senior centers is to help seniors improve their quality of life, McGill said he believes its important to make sure the centers’ needs are met, even some of their more seemingly mundane problems.

“We are trying now to figure out how to address a lot of areas,” McGill said. “For example, some of these centers have small TVs that are 18 or 19 inch, so we’re going to try and get them 60-inch state-of-the-art color televisions. But some of the centers don’t even have ice makers.

“Some centers are very nice, but some are in just terrible condition,” he said. “What we’re doing is assessing all these areas and we’re going to bring it back to the General Assembly.”

Local reaction

About 40 members of the Indian Land Senior Center attended the lieutenant governor’s event, said local resident Robert Parker.

Parker said he, like his fellow senior center members, was impressed by McGill, who began the visit with a prayer.

“He seemed to be very open and honest, and he was down to earth,” Parker said. “He talked about several issues, our meals, talked about health care, and getting along with others and seemed to be real interested in what we had to say.

“I think he’s doing a good job,” he said.

The Indian Land Senior Center is one of four operated by the Lancaster County Council on Aging. It serves more than 100 residents, along with senior centers in Lancaster, Heath Springs and Kershaw.

Lancaster County Council on Aging Director Sally Sherrin said the county’s senior centers provide a host of services for seniors ranging from noon meal and Home Delivered Meals to activities, exercise and informational resources.

Sherrin said she believed McGill was well-received. She said she was glad to have the opportunity to show McGill the merits of the Indian Land Senior Center and provide seniors with an opportunity to discuss their concerns with the man in charge of senior citizen issues in South Carolina.

Sherrin said recent studies show the role senior centers play in the lives of senior citizens and prove they’re worth supporting.

“The results have shown that by remaining active, and participating in activities you enjoy, you can improve your quality of life,” Sherrin said. “Also, another study showed that by remaining active and participating in activities, you can fend off dementia.

“I think that if senior centers are important enough for the lieutenant governor to visit, then what’s happening at the state’s senior centers is important,” she said. “We were glad to have him and look forward to working with him as he leads our aging department in South Carolina.”

 

Contact reporter Reece Murphy at (803) 283-1151